- Budget and Appropriations Update
- House Appropriations Committee Advances Appropriations Bills
- Senate Armed Services Committee Approves FY20 NDAA
- Congress, Administration Continue Negotiations on Budget Caps
- Institutional Assistance Funds Included in Disaster Aid Bill
- House Approves “Kiddie Tax” Fix
- Senate Confirms Fall as Energy Department Office of Science Director
- House Judiciary Committee Approves Legislation to Protect Dreamers
- AAU Urges House Lawmakers to Support Solutions for Dreamers
- AAU, Associations Support “The Dream Act” and “The American Promise Act”
- DHS Announces Student Visa Fees Will Increase June 24
- Ed Department Expands College Scorecard with Program-Level Data
- Report Shows Wealthy Students More Likely to Go to College
- AAU, Associations Submit Comments on Labor Department Overtime Rule
- Upcoming Events
BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS UPDATE
House appropriators continue to work toward a self-imposed June deadline to complete their work and have passed eight of 12 FY20 spending bills through the full Appropriations Committee.
The committee Tuesday advanced the FY20 Defense bill, which sets funding at $690.2 billion – a 2 percent increase over FY19. The measure raises funding for key defense programs, including 6.11 percent for Research, Development, Test & Evaluation, and 2.79 percent for DARPA.
The committee Tuesday passed a $46.4 billion FY20 Energy-Water appropriations bill, which increases funding by 4 percent over FY19. The bill includes significant increases over FY19 funding for several programs, including 4 percent for the Office of Science and 16 percent for ARPA-E.
The $73.9 billion FY20 Commerce-Justice-Science bill Wednesday passed the full committee, setting a 15 percent increase over FY19. The bill includes $22.32 billion for NASA, 3.79 percent above FY19. The measure includes $8.64 billion for the National Science Foundation, an increase of $561.14 million or 7 percent above FY19. The measure also raises funding for several key NASA programs, including $7.161 million (+3.7 percent) for Science, and $1.291 million (+39.3 percent) for Space Technology. The measure cuts $700 million (-3.4 percent) for Aeronautics.
The committee Wednesday advanced its FY20 Interior-Environment funding measure, which set funding at $37.28 billion, an increase of 10.9 percent over FY19. The bill includes $167.5 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities, an increase of 8 percent over FY19. This matches AAU’s FY20 funding recommendation.
The House Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA yesterday passed its $24.31 billion FY20 spending measure, a 4.3 percent increase above FY19. The bill report, including AFRI funding details, is forthcoming.
The House Appropriations subcommittee on Transportation-Housing and Urban Development yesterday approved its $137.1 billion FY20 funding bill, an increase of 0.2 percent above FY19.
The Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday advanced the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, which would set defense spending at $750 billion. Report language, including specific funding details on science and technology programs, is not yet available, and the Senate has not scheduled a vote on the measure.
RESOURCE AVAILABLE: AAU FY20 Funding Priorities Table (updated 5/22/2019) | AAU Applauds Proposed Increases for Higher Education, Scientific Research
Administration staff and congressional leaders Tuesday began talks focused on reaching an agreement to raise the Budget Control Act's budget caps. If Congress and the administration fail to reach a deal to raise the budget caps the administration supports, then FY20 and 21 discretionary spending will face cuts of $225 billion.
The Senate yesterday passed H.R. 2157 , the “Supplemental Appropriations For Disaster Relief Act, 2019,” a $19.1 billion package of disaster-relief aid. The measure includes $165 million in Education Department funding to support colleges and universities and K-12 schools affected by natural disasters. The legislation does not include the president’s requested $4.5 billion in humanitarian aid for migrants at the U.S. southern border. House leaders had planned to pass the measure by unanimous consent today, but an objection from Representative Chip Roy (R-TX) blocked the proceeding.
HOUSE APPROVES “KIDDIE TAX” FIX
The House yesterday approved H.R. 1994, the “Setting Every Community Up For Retirement Act.” This bipartisan legislation addressed a provision known as the “kiddie tax,” a provision in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that increased taxes on the net unearned income of a child, which was intended to stop wealthy parents from sheltering income by shifting it to their children. This provision had inadvertently increased taxes for low- and middle-income families with children who received financial aid packages including assistance for room and board. The measure awaits Senate consideration.
SENATE CONFIRMS FALL AS ENERGY DEPARTMENT OFFICE OF SCIENCE DIRECTOR
The Senate yesterday confirmed Christopher Fall as the Director of the Energy Department’s Office of Science. Fall previously served as Principal Deputy Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency.
HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE APPROVES LEGISLATION TO PROTECT DREAMERS
The House Judiciary Committee Wednesday approved of a pair of bills aimed at providing Dreamers a path to citizenship and extending previously terminated protections with Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure. H.R. 2820 , the “Dream Act of 2019,” and H.R. 2821, the “American Promise Act of 2019,” were marked up as separate bills, but will be combined into a comprehensive package as H.R. 6, “the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019.”
AAU URGES HOUSE LAWMAKERS TO SUPPORT SOLUTIONS FOR DREAMERS
AAU Monday sent a letter to House leaders in support of H.R. 6, “the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019,” legislation that would allow some undocumented young people to earn lawful permanent residence in the United States and a path to citizenship. Introduced by Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), and Yvette Clarke (D-NY), this legislation is critical to the long-term viability of our unique government-university research partnership and its future contributions to our nation’s prosperity and security.
AAU, ASSOCIATIONS SUPPORT “THE DREAM ACT” AND “THE AMERICAN PROMISE ACT”
AAU, together with ACE, APLU, and three other higher education associations, Tuesday sent a letter to House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA) to request the committee work to pass two bills to protect Dreamers. H.R. 2820, “the Dream Act of 2019,” would create a path to citizenship for talented and productive young people. H.R. 2821, “the American Promise Act of 2019,” would extend previously terminated protections to immigrants with Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure. Of the need to pass legislation to protect Dreamers, the letter says, “it is clear that in Congress, and across the nation, there is widespread and bipartisan support for doing just that.”
DHS ANNOUNCES STUDENT VISA FEES WILL INCREASE JUNE 24
The Department of Homeland Security Wednesday announced it will, on June 24, implement its proposed rule to increase by 75 percent the fees foreign students pay for visas and impose new fees on schools accepting international students. Under the proposed rule, the program fee for international students on F and M visas would increase from $200 to $350 and exchange visitors would face an increase from $180 to $220. The "school certification petition fee" would increase from $1,700 to $3,000 and schools would have to pay a new $1,250 additional fee when seeking recertification and a $675 fee to appeal government decisions. The additional fees will be used to fund the Student and Exchange Visitors Program Operations.
ED DEPARTMENT EXPANDS COLLEGE SCORECARD WITH PROGRAM-LEVEL DATA
The Education Department Tuesday released its expanded version of the College Scorecard, which includes the addition of program-level data to statistics like post-graduate earnings, student loan debt, and loan repayment rates. The president in March signed an executive order directing the department to include information on student debt divided by field of study rather than by college. The department Tuesday wrote to schools requesting they update program-level data by July 10, and plan to calculate earnings and debt by field of study by mid-July.
RESOURCE AVAILABLE: Associations Comment on Proposed Rule to Rescind Gainful Employment Regulations
REPORT SHOWS WEALTHY STUDENTS MORE LIKELY TO GO TO COLLEGE
The National Center for Education Statistics Wednesdayreleased its annual 2019 Condition of Education report, a study that includes indicators on the condition of all levels of U.S. education. The report data shows wealthy students are 50 percent more likely to enroll in college than students from the lowest income bracket. Nearly 40 percent of these wealthy students are enrolled in a “highly selective four-year college or university,” compared to just 7 percent from the lowest income bracket.
AAU, ASSOCIATIONS SUBMIT COMMENTS ON LABOR DEPARTMENT OVERTIME RULE
AAU Tuesday joined CUPA-HR-led comments in response to the Labor Department’s proposed overtime rule, which formally rescinds the Department’s 2016 rule. The rule, published in March 2019, would increase the annual salary threshold that determines which employees qualify for overtime pay from $455 to $679 per week (equivalent to $35,308 per year). The comments agree that updates to the rule are necessary, and ask the department to: allow employers to prorate the threshold for part-time employees, count the cost of employer-provided room and board toward the salary threshold, and to update the regulations every five to seven years based on circumstance and not on a rigid schedule, using a methodology established in 2004.